The Stiles + Drewe Prize

The Stiles + Drewe Prize is an unprecedented programme for the development and showcasing of British musical theatre writers.

About:
In 1985, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe were the recipients of the inaugural Vivian Ellis Prize for their musical Just So. Winning the prize introduced them to many leading lights of the musical theatre world, whose advice and support in championing new writing became so important to them. Since 2008, Stiles and Drewe have recognised new musical theatre writing via their annual ‘Best New Song’ award which has been produced by MMD. Since 2016, the broadening of the Stiles + Drewe Prize to include the biannual ‘MTI Mentorship Award’, has offered the musical theatre writing community greater financial and in-kind support via its two distinct arms:

MTI Mentorship Award – a biannual award given to an MMD writer or writing team who have submitted a first full draft of a new musical. The Award, which is generously supported by Music Theatre International (Europe), involves an intensive week-long writing retreat, two progress Labs presented to fellow MMD members, and an industry showcase presentation of the musical.

Best New Song – recognising an outstanding song from a new musical written by a member of MMD, offered in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award.

Stiles + Drewe Prize 2020 Timeline:

Applications for Best New Song 2020:
Open: 29th November 2019 / Close 31st January 2020

Finalists for Best New Song Prize announced:
Late April 2020

Best New Song Prize 2020 winner/s announced:
SSSSPOTY & Stiles + Drewe Prize 2020 Gala Final – date in June 2020 TBC

If you have any questions about the submission process please email Martin Jackson at martin@mercurymusicals.com or call on 020 7395 5461

N.B. There will be no Mentorship Award in 2020. The next Mentorship Award will commence in 2021, with submissions opening in November 2020.

To apply: select the Best New Song drop down below, read the instructions carefully and click the button which will take you to the application form.

1. The MTI Mentorship Award

Generously supported by Musical Theatre International (Europe), the Mentorship Award is presented biannually to a writer or writing team who have submitted the first full draft of a new musical. Stiles and Drewe, along with a panel of judges, select the winning project – the writers of which then benefit from bespoke mentorship and support over a 12-month period.

This includes:

  • A fully funded, one-week development retreat to work on the winning musical. This has previously happened at Anthony’s house in France.
  • Access to MMD’s monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab.
  • Participation in two Progress Labs. In each of these, the Mentorship Award winner will present a section of their musical in front of MMD members and receive feedback from a panel of industry professionals.
  • Access to work shadowing opportunities – either on a Stiles and Drewe show or with alternative industry contacts (subject to availability and production schedules).
  • After 12 months, the above culminates in rehearsal provision for a workshop with an industry showcase presentation at the end. This is with a professional cast, Director and MD.

How to Submit:

N.B. There will be no Mentorship Award in 2020. The next Mentorship Award will commence in 2021, with submissions opening in November 2020.

In a Mentorship year, writers can enter both the ‘MTI Mentorship Award’ and the ‘Best New Song’ via one submission process in alternate years. Whilst there is no entry fee, writers must be members of MMD.

You can find out more about MMD and join our organisation by clicking here

If you have any questions about MMD membership please email Rosie Archer, Membership Manager at rosie@mercurymusicals.com

Entry Requirements for The MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award:

 We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

  • Entrants must be resident in the UK (i.e. if chosen, you need to be able to attend monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab sessions, attend the one-week writers’ retreat in France with Stiles and Drewe, prepare and participate in two Progress Labs and the final industry showcase during the course of the year-long mentorship).
  • Entrants must have written a full first draft of the musical to be entered. Full draft means a complete script, with all songs written.
  • Your musical cannot have had a professional production.

Entrants should complete the online form below.

*Please note that applicants for the MTI Mentorship Award must be from UK residents however Overseas Members of MMD may still submit for the Best New Song. 

General notes:

  • Entries must be uploaded via the MMD website.
  • Please label each page of the single pdf uploaded with your SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
  • “Song title”_scene (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_ Scene)
  • “Song title”_lyric sheet (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No_ Lyric Sheet)
  • Synopsis (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Synopsis)
  • Underlying Rights Letter (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Underlying Rights Letter)

Please submit:

Initially, we require the following to be uploaded via the online form as one document in PDF format:

  1. A synopsis no longer than 500 words
  2. A full character list
  3. A full track list
  • From the draft of the musical, entrants must submit three songs. Two should be submitted in the context of their scenes. A lyric sheet only should be uploaded for the third song. The maximum page limit for all of this material is 20 pages. The synopsis, character list, track list, two selected scenes/songs and lyric sheet for the third song should be in PDF format.
  • Soundcloud links must be included in the relevant section of the online form for all three songs. Please ensure you also detail the full song title next to the link. Please ensure the privacy settings on the Soundcloud tracks will allow MMD staff and the judges to open/listen to the links.
  • PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) must also be uploaded for all three songs. If songs are scored for instruments other than piano (e.g. guitar charts) you may submit these in the first instance, along with a clear, quality demo which gives a faithful impression of the song for the judges, but please be aware if shortlisted you will be required to provide piano/vocal arrangements on request and the judges may ask writers to produce further material (e.g. additional demos/vocal scores) from their musical, including a full draft in pdf format at any time.
  • Entrants should highlight on the online form which of the three songs they want to be considered for ‘Best New Song’. Bear in mind that the finalists will have their songs performed by a SOLO performer, so duets and ensemble numbers are discouraged. The entrant can submit up to two songs for consideration for the Best New Song. One song must be one of the three submitted for the Mentorship Award, the second song may either be one of the other two submitted from the same show or from another project. Once you have completed your Mentorship Award application you will be prompted to complete a separate Best New Song application which will require some duplication of information.
  • The Best New Song entry must be suitable for performance by one male or female singer with piano accompaniment only. Writers must be willing to adjust song lyrics to comply with this.
  • All material on the pdf should be presented anonymously. Only the online form and Soundcloud links should carry personal information.
  • If the musical contains any copyrighted material, please upload proof that the underlying rights have been secured. If the musical is wholly original or based on material now in the public domain please upload a signed letter stating this.

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application.

  • The judges may ask writers to produce a full draft of their musical in PDF format at any time.
  • You may only enter the same musical for consideration for the Mentorship Award twice. This can be done on consecutive years. The judges will not consider a musical a third time.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.

Please make sure you read all the above entry requirements and instructions carefully before submitting your application.

2. The Best New Song

The ‘Best New Song’ is awarded on an annual basis. 12 finalists have their songs performed by students participating in the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year. For the last 12 years this has been at a gala event held in a West End Theatre.
A panel of judges, including Stiles and Drewe, award the ‘Best New Song’ and the winner receives a prize of £1000 to put towards developing their work.

All 12 finalists have access to a Feedback Lab, hosted by Stiles and Drewe at a later date. They are also invited to be audience members in the two Progress Labs for the Mentorship Award-winner.

Entry Requirements for the Best New Song:

Entrants should complete the online form below.
We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

• Entrants may submit a maximum of two songs for consideration for the Best New Song but may submit one song only if they wish.
• If submitting two songs for the Best New Song only (open to all MMD members, including Overseas Members) entrants may submit songs from different projects and either written solely by themselves, two songs with the same collaborator or two songs with different collaborators.
• If also applying for the Mentorship Award (UK applicants only in Mentorship Award years) one song must be one of the three submitted for the Mentorship Award. The second song may either be from the same show or from another project.
• The song/s must be from a musical, although the musical does not need to be complete (unless part of a Mentorship Award application). Stand-alone cabaret songs will not be accepted.
• The Best New Song entries must be suitable for performance by a solo singer, either male or female with piano accompaniment only. Duets or ensembles are not recommended unless they can be adapted to be performed by a solo performer.
• We will only be able to advise Best New Song finalists whether their song will be performed by a male or a female singer once the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year selection process is complete. We cannot guarantee Best New Song finalists will be sung by a performer of the gender originally intended (i.e. you will have to be prepared for a male to sing a song originally written for a female and vice versa). Writers must be willing to adjust song lyrics accordingly.
• The song cannot have been included in a previous professional production.
• If you are part of a song writing team, at least one of you must be a paid up member of MMD.

Please submit:

A Soundcloud URL link to each song(s) pasted in the relevant section of the online form. Please ensure you also detail the full song title(s) next to the link and ensure the privacy settings on the Soundcloud tracks will allow MMD staff and the judges to open/listen to the links.
• Lyric sheet for the song(s) (pdf format).
• A show synopsis no longer than 500 words (pdf format).

General Notes:

• If a song is selected as a Best New Song finalist, the writer(s) will be required to provide a PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) on request.
• Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.
• Please label each file uploaded SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
• “Song title”_lyric sheet (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_ Lyric Sheet)
• Synopsis (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Synopsis)

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application. Please read the above instructions carefully before you submit any materials.

Best New Song 2020 Application Form

History:
The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year jury is chaired by writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson and previous judges have included Julia McKenzie, Philip Quast, Kim Criswell, George Stiles, Gareth Valentine, David Babani, Richard Balcombe, Kim Criswell, Martin Koch, David Grindrod, Maureen Lipman, Kerry Ellis, Anna Francolini, Timothy Sheader, Sarah Travis, Danielle Hope, Michael McCabe, David Shrubsole, Laurie Sansom, Michael Grandage, Imelda Staunton, Mike Haslam, Matthew Scott, Bert Fink, Jonathan Butterell, David Lan, Nigel Lilley, Scot Alan, Andrew Lippa, John Wilson, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Jamie Lloyd, Don Black, Paul Hart, Elaine Paige, Janie Dee, Simon Lee, Rachel Kavanaugh, and Alex Young.

Previous hosts have included Maria Friedman, Sally Ann Triplett, Rosemary Ashe, Hannah Waddingham, Haydn Gwynne, Claire Moore, Jenna Russell, David Bedella, Michael Xavier, Julian Ovenden, Clive Rowe, Tracie Bennett and Joanna Riding.

Previous winners:

MTI Stiles & Drewe Mentorship Award:

2018: Jim Barne & Kit Buchan for their musical The Season

2017: Ben Glasstone for his musical Reanimator: A Zombie Musical

2016: Darren Clark & Rhys Jennings for their musical The Wicker Husband

Best New Song:

2019: Theo Jamieson for “Yes, Amazing” from Kali’s Toenail.

2018: Adam Wachter for “You and Me” from Any Minute Now.

2017: Claire Rivers and Tom Lees for “Gerry And Me” from P.S. I Love You.

2016: Tim Connor for “Back To School” from Heart of Winter.

2015: Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for “Don’t Look Down” from The Superhero.

2014: Tamar Broadbent for “Library Boy” and “The Procrastination Song”.

2013: “That Once-in-a-Lifetime Feeling” by Tim Sutton.

2012: Joint winners Douglas Hodge for “Powercut” and Dougal Irvine for “Do You Want A Baby, Baby” from The Busker’s Opera.

2011: Joint winners Tim Sutton for “I Am” and Eric Angus and Paul James for “Kaboom! Kapow!” from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book.

2010: Gwyneth Herbert for “Lovely London Town” from The A to Z of Mrs P.

2009: Olly Ashmore for “Wake Up TV” from Hot Flush 2.

2008: Mark Allcorn for “My Turn Soon” from Singles.